- Associated Press - Sunday, August 24, 2014


New faces: QB Josh McCown, DE Michael Johnson, rookie WR Mike Evans, CB Alterraun Verner, T Anthony Collins, C Evan Dietrich-Smith, DT Clinton McDonald, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE Brandon Myers, WR Louis Murphy.

Key losses: CB Darrelle Revis, WR Mike Williams, T Donald Penn, G Davin Joseph, C Jeremy Zuttah, LB Dekoda Watson.

Strengths: DT, RB, LB, WR, S, CB

Weaknesses: QB, OL, DE

What’s New: Lovie Smith’s first order of business after becoming third coach in five years was hiring Jeff Tedford, who as college coach helped develop Aaron Rodgers and five other first-round QBs. Hope is one-time Cal coach will bring creativity to unit that ranked 30th in scoring and last in passing and total yardage. Former Vikings coach Leslie Frazier was brought in as defensive coordinator, installing Smith’s version of Tampa-2 scheme that keyed decade of success that included franchise’s only NFL title.

Expectations: Bucs haven’t made playoffs since 2007 and don’t have postseason victory since winning Super Bowl 12 years ago, so .500 or better finish would represent step forward. That could be difficult. Even though Smith inherited core of good defense and appears to have made it better with some key additions in free agency, offense is huge question mark with four new starters on line, as well as 35-year-old career backup QB McCown.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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